2-6 Tropical Cyclones Predicted for Upcoming Hurricane Season

May 20, 2020, 3:33 PM HST (Updated May 20, 2020, 3:33 PM)
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Two to six tropical cyclones are forecasted for the Central Pacific Hurricane Season 2020, which starts June 1.

On Wednesday afternoon, the National Weather Service in Honolulu hosted a webinar with a panel of state leaders and experts to discuss the upcoming hurricane season. According to weather experts, there is a 75% chance of near to below normal season and a 25% chance of an above-normal season.

“This year we will likely see less activity in the Central Pacific region compared to more active seasons,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at the Climate Prediction Center. “Less activity is predicted since ocean temperatures are likely to be near-average in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean where hurricanes form, and because El Nino is not present to increase the activity.”

This outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal tropical cyclone activity in the Central Pacific basin and does not predict whether, or how many, of these systems will affect Hawaii. The hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November 30.

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“Regardless of the number of tropical cyclones predicted, this outlook serves as a reminder to everyone in the State of Hawaii to prepare now,” said Chris Brenchley, director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. “Learn about hurricane hazards and where to find our forecasts, then make a plan so that you and your family stay healthy and safe.”

Kevin Kodama, senior service hydrologist for NWS, spoke on predictions regarding the state’s dry and wet seasons. The 2019 wet season, which runs from October to April, was the 11th wettest season in the last 30 years.

Kodama said a climate prediction model for July through September tilts probabilities to below normal rainfall over the Hawaiian Islands during the 2020 dry season. The exception is Kona as it is known to get the afternoon showers during the warmer months.

This outlook comes as the world continues its fight to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Wednesday, Hawaii had 643 positive cases. Gov. David Ige has begun reopening the economy in phases.

“I know many have been focused on the threat of COVID-19, but as we all know, we must turn our attention to the 2020 hurricane season,” Ige said. “Now is the time for everyone to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane.

During the webinar, Luke Meyers, administrator for Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, said the emergency operation center’s team has been working through unprecedented times, and hurricane season is no different.

As hurricane season comes with a number of threats, Meyers put out six calls to action:

  • Get to know the hazards on your property.
  • Sign up for state and county communication alert systems.
  • Develop a plan.
  • Develop a 14-day kit that includes face masks and hand sanitizer.
  • Look at home retrofit.

“We’re in a marathon and when you overlay hurricane season on COVID-19, it turns into a triathlon, ” Meyers said.

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